Russia Calls UNSC Session on Yemen Crisis

This article originally appeared at RT

As fighting in Yemen intensifies Russia has called up an emergency UN Security Council session to put on pause Saudi-led coalition airstrikes for humanitarian purposes in an effort to quell the violence that is impacting civilians.

Russia insists it is necessary for the international community to discuss the establishment of regular and mandatory “humanitarian pauses” in the ongoing coalition air strikes on Yemen, Russian UN mission’s spokesman Aleksey Zaytsev told Sputnik.

An extraordinary meeting is scheduled for Saturday, at 3pm GMT at the UN headquarters in NYC.

A coalition of Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, has been engaging Houthi militias from the air for over a week now, after the Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was forced to flee the country and asked for an international intervention to reinstate his rule.

Moscow is calling for a diplomatic solution to the conflict emphasizing that foreign military intervention would only lead to more civilian deaths. On Friday, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with the newly appointed Saudi ambassador, conveying the “necessity of a ceasefire” to create favorable conditions for a peaceful national dialogue.

Russia has already taken steps to evacuate all of its personnel from its Yemeni consulate, which was damaged in the conflict. It has also taken an active role evacuating Russian nationals and other civilians from the country.

On Thursday Russia proposed amendments to a UN Security Council draft resolution on Yemen. The world security body “should speak in a principled manner for ending any violence…in the Yemen crisis,”Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding that a draft resolution on the crisis has already been submitted to the UNSC.

Echoing Lavrov’s words, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich also called on immediate cessation of hostilities, adding that Russia will continue active diplomatic efforts in dealing with all Yemeni factions and Middle Eastern partners in order to restart political process. Lukashevich also called on the UN special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, to play a bigger role in the settlement of the crisis.

Meanwhile on the ground on Friday, after coalition bombardment campaign Houthi militias left the presidential palace in Aden, after occupying it a day earlier. “The Houthi militia and their allies withdrew before dawn from the Al-Maashiq palace,” said the official in Aden.

The airstrike also reportedly destroyed Houthi“military equipment and missiles” on Myun island on Bab al-Mandab Strait. At the same time Saudi-led coalition airdropped weapons to President Hadi supporters in Aden, coalition spokesman General Ahmed Assiri said.

“We should not be in a rush,” he said as campaign entered its ninth day. “The campaign is achieving its goals, and you can see that every day.”

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia claimed that there that there were no “formal” troops on the ground in Yemen. However, the “issue of using ground troops is always something that is on the table,” Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said at an event in Washington.

The UN estimates that over 500 people, many civilians, have been killed in Yemen over the past two weeks. Though the allied Air Force target mostly military facilities, weapon depots and infrastructure, their strikes still befell on civilians. Tens of thousands have fled the country after the outbreak of violence.

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